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Misdiagnoses: Your misdiagnosis and options in Washington, D.C.

As a patient or the loved one of a patient in Washington, D.C., you know that when you seek medical attention, it's important for the diagnosis your doctor gives you to be accurate. If it's not, you could face additional pain and suffering or even have your life put at risk.

A misdiagnosis doesn't always cause problems. For example, if a bruised arm is misdiagnosed as being strained, the extra time without pressure on your arm won't hurt the healing process. Misdiagnoses of strokes, heart attacks or other serious trauma are different. These misdiagnoses can cause serious, long-term and permanent damage. In many cases, emergency treatments need to be given; if they aren't, a patient could die.

When you're looking to file a case against a doctor for a misdiagnosis, there are a few things to ask yourself. First of all, would any other doctor have been able to identify the issue? If it can be shown that most other doctors with similar training would have been able to identify the problem, then you may have a better chance of succeeding with a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Another problem with a misdiagnosis is that you could be treated with the wrong medication. If that happens, the medication could potentially be damaging to your body. For instance, you wouldn't want to take chemotherapy or radiation medications if you didn't have to; it kills your cells and makes you go through unnecessary pain and suffering.

If you've been misdiagnosed or faced this kind of unnecessary suffering, you have the right to pursue compensation. There's no reason you should have to face the addition of medical bills and changes in your life without compensation.

Source: FindLaw, "Failed/Erroneous Diagnosis and Treatment" Nov. 12, 2014

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